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Head Injury: A Family Matter.

Head injury happens not only to the person who sustains the injury, but to the entire family system. The title of this book says it straight out--head injury is a family matter. Head Injury: A Family Matter is an edited volume organized around the following topics: a) first person accounts, b) the family system, c) families and the array of rehabilitation services, d) special issues for families, and e) family intervention techniques.

Section I, the first person accounts, sets the tone for this book by expressing how a head injury in the family affects all members throughout the life span of the family. The perspectives of a person who has experienced head injury, a parent, a spouse, a sibling, and a child are provided in their own words. The five chapters in Section I give a clear description of the impact of head injury on each family member over time.

Section II provides an overview of a family systems perspective of families who have a member with a disability. The first chapter in this section, chapter 6, describes the implications of conceptualizing the family system as the focus of intervention rather than the person with a disability, and relates this perspective to the first person accounts of Section 1. The chapters on family reaction to head injury (chapter 8) and family assessment (chapter 9), by drawing on the experiences shared in Section 1, emphasize the need to understand the changes that may take place in the family system over time.

Section III addresses the family and their interaction with the various aspects of service delivery. Family information and education needs are addressed with emphasis on the importance of developing a rehabilitation plan that is compatible with family strengths and value systems. In addition, chapter 13 is entirely dedicated to the significance of family involvement, cooperation, and support of the vocational rehabilitation and return to work processes. The four chapters in this section emphasize that a service delivery system must respond to each individual and family rather than forcing the family and individual to respond to a given system.

Section IV presents special issues that are frequently encountered by families after a family member sustains a head injury. The three chapters in this section address the effect of culture, child development, behavioral issues, and sexuality issues on family adjustment to head injury. Specific examples are used to illustrate the importance of each issue in a family's life.

Section V, the final section, presents the resources and tools for family support. Types and levels of family interventions necessary during the rehabilitation process are described in chapter 18. The need for long-term, informal social support networks for families across the family life cycle are discussed in chapter 20. Finally, chapter 21 describes the resources available to families through the National Head Injury Foundation.

Head Injury: A Family Matter provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of head injury on the family system. With chapters contributed by a variety of authors, this book highlights the major perspectives on head injury and the family. Real life accounts by head injury survivors and various family members offer the reader a realistic view of the dramatic and long-term impact of head injury on family functioning. In addition, chapters written by head injury practitioners, researchers, and educators provide a complete summary of effective family assessment and intervention techniques.

A second strength of this book is the inclusion of chapters concerning the family and sexuality, the family and return to work, and family therapy as applied to head injury. The information provided in these chapters is especially useful to head injury practitioners because these topics have yet to be thoroughly addressed in the head injury, rehabilitation, or family counseling literature. A third major strength is the use of family case studies to describe family systems theory, research findings, and successful clinical family intervention strategies. While having very few drawbacks, an additional chapter would enhance

Head Injury: A Family Matter. A chapter devoted to the common physical, cognitive; and behavioral limitations that follow head injury would prove useful to many readers. More detailed information on orientation/mobility, problem-solving, and interpersonal difficulties would benefit the reader unfamiliar with residual head injury deficits. The reader may then better understand how head injury impacts the family system. Head Injury: A Family Matter has a variety of applications. First, this text is must reading for all practitioners in the head injury rehabilitation field. Second, head injury and family researchers will find this book useful as an overview of the major literature pertaining to the impact of head injury on the family. Through review of this text, researchers can develop hypotheses for important and necessary family studies.

A third application of this book is education. Students in numerous academic fields including family studies, social work, medicine, and rehabilitation counseling will find this book helpful for gaining insight into the effect of head injury on family functioning. The comprehensive and applied nature of Head Injury: A Family Matter make it valuable and interesting reading for persons with head injuries, their families, human service professionals, and students.
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Kosciulek, John F.
Publication:The Journal of Rehabilitation
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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